Saturday 14 May 2016

Module 6: Educational Leadership and Models of ICT Decision Making Part 2

The second site is a link to some planning documents from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Don't worry if you are not in a school - or in Victoria or Australia. These documents are designed to help in a school's planning for the use of ICT. In your current (or future) role, do you have documents or a site that's similar? Are you provided with resources like this in another way? How useful would these resources be do you think? Post any links you might have to similar documents to share - if you are able!
We do not have any such document similar to the resources posted as the second link for module 6. The school strategic plan does incorporate aspects of technology but in no way as extensive as this. I think that this type of model helps the technology department really have a clear direction and I am looking forward to using something similar to map out where we are going as a school for next year. I think it will also help me feel more confident in my role with a clear direction. The challenge with education technology though is that it is not a department that can work separate from any other department. Thus, a lot of what would be on there would also have to be in the Primary strategic plan as well. This means developing good working relationships with the Primary school and all departments are crucial to the successful implementation of a strategic plan once created.
The third link looks at the idea of having organisational "Champions" as a possible leadership strategy. Have you used this idea in your organisation? Given the findings of the research in this article, to what extent might this now influence your approach to ICT in your organisation?
A champion is someone who is leading the way with innovation and enthusiasm to implement a creative idea. In Stuart, A. M. Mills, et al. (2009), it is suggested that a champion of ICT implementation should also have a certain level of ICT capability and competence in order to encourage others to also implement technology. I think my international school very much sees the importance of someone championing ICT integration as they have invested in a full-time staff member as an Education Technology Coach. In this role, I believe it is my job to do much of the championing for ICT integration and also find those who are enthusiastic to help champion the innovative ideas in our organisation that need to be rolled out on a whole school scale. Our school ensures that our EdTech Coach and Director of EdTech both have experience and knowledge in ICT and continually stay up to date with best practice by allowing them professional development opportunities around southeast Asia to continue to upscale their knowledge. In addition, we try to promote a positive outlook towards technology at school focusing on how it can support teaching and learning and help teachers do this in a more efficient and effective manner. Finally, we want out teachers to have a positive outlook to using technology so we have regular professional development opportunities to build their ICT knowledge and give them hands-on experiences using ICT (Stuart, A. M. Mills, et al., 2009). From there we ensure we continue to support innovation with teachers on an ongoing basis in both formal and informal settings.
For me, the most important part of ICT leadership and the idea of championing innovations is that whatever is done within the school must support the school mission and vision. It is imperative that leaders see how technology fits into the overall vision for the school and not a separate component (Stuart, A. M. Mills, et al., 2009). It truly needs to be woven into one in order to be successful. If teachers and administrators can see how technology is a part of our overarching goals, they will have more buy in and be willing to explore technology use more.  

The last link (which you will have seen from the last module) deals with professional development, but this of course is an key element of leadership in this field. In the context of ICT leadership, in what ways might you deal with developments in technology that are always changing and where this always something new and "cool" being introduced as "educational technology". The iPad is one example of this. How reactive do you need to be and how much planning can you do when you are not sure what is around the corner
Technology is constantly evolving and changing. This makes a role like mine so exciting as we try to see how the latest technologies can have educational application. That being said, I am always cautiously optimistic with anything that I try. I think it’s important not to just jump 100% in and buy the next technology gadget for the whole school when it is released. Rather, look at trialling things on a smaller scale, evaluating whether they will be effective in different areas of teaching and learning and then look at moving the whole school if that is the way to go.

There is something exciting about exploring new innovative ideas but you also have to evaluate if this technology will be around in another year or two and for the look for the right tool for the job. Armfield (2011) suggests that when implementing something on a whole school scale, everyone needs to be working towards the same goal and there needs to be reflection throughout the process.

Before integration any tool into my teaching I look at it from a larger school - what learning/ professional development do my students/teachers need? What do we already have that does similar things? What does it allow us to do that we aren’t already doing? How will it impact the other systems we already have in place? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before implementing.

The process of planning, designing, implementing and evaluating is an important cycle (Armfield, 2011). Planning for effective integration allows teachers to move through this cycle in a way that makes them think critically about the tools they wish to use. Ultimately, if the new technology is the best resource for the task at hand and is properly planned out, students can benefit from new and innovative technologies in the classroom.

Stuart, L. H., A. M. Mills, et al. (2009). "School leaders, ICT competence and championing innovations." Computers & Education 53(3): 733-741.
Armfield, S. (2011). Technology leadership for school improvement Planning, designing, implementing and evaluating technology, pp. 109-128, 2011. in Technology and Leadership for School Improvement. Papa, R. (Ed) California :Sage

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